The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) broke ground on Monday for a $72.5 million project that is expected to ease traffic along State Route 91 (SR-91), which is a main transportation artery connecting Orange County with the Inland Empire. The section of highway is a busy commuter and goods movement corridor with an average daily traffic volume of 300,000.
“The improvements planned for the 91 freeway are a top ranked priority for the business community,” said Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council. “The 91 freeway…accommodates not only commuters to and from the Inland Empire, but it is a major trade corridor between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and America’s Heartland. Adding extra lanes to ease congestion increases mobility, improves goods movement, and helps parents get to their kids’ soccer game after work.”
The project will add one general-purpose lane for six miles in each direction between the SR-55 and the SR-241, according to OCTA. In addition, it will widen the bridge for Imperial Highway and the Weir Canyon Road under crossing in both directions. On and off ramps will also be constructed to accommodate for the widening. OCTA plans to finish the improvements by September 2012.
“OCTA is very pleased to see this project get under way and we are looking forward to bringing much-needed traffic relief to the hundreds of thousands of residents, commuters and visitors who travel this stretch of freeway every day," said OCTA chair Patricia Bates, also the Fifth District supervisor.
In addition to improving traffic, OCTA is continually seeking to improve the environment. Local leaders expect the construction will eventually help lower emissions.
“When cars and trucks aren’t idling in heavy traffic, they aren’t contributing exhaust emissions,” said Dunn. “Good flowing traffic is better for good air quality—important to a high quality of life in the Southland.”
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